Aug 19, 2017

Watching a movie is one of life’s simplest joys. To watch a movie unfold in front of your eyes is like learning about a friend’s journey or at some point, it’s like living another life. However, it’s a shared gift that some people just tend to ruin. In case you forget, here’s how you can help your fellow viewer enjoy a movie to the fullest.

React but do not overreact
Going to the movies is like visiting a new, unfamiliar place. The journey then takes you to delightful, surprising, or even horrifying turns. In response, we gasp, giggle, sob, or curse. And that is okay.

However, the problem begins when you talk too much or your reaction becomes too distracting. A scene may be gripping that you would want to discuss your emotions right after that scene, but this is not your living room and what you’re watching is not a teleserye.

If there’s a line or word that you didn’t understand, go ask your companion. However, if what you have to say is not urgent, don’t talk because your companion is so immersed in what’s happening and he or she doesn’t really want to talk to you (for sure).

The theater is neither your bedroom nor a motel room
In Lino Brocka’s Insiang, Rez Cortez’s Bebot asks Hilda Koronel’s Insiang to go out for a movie. Insiang hesitates and tells him that she doesn’t like what he does to her when they go to the movies. Yes, Insiang is referring to sexual acts. And you’ve seen it in other movies, too.

Hilda Koronel and Rez Cortez in Insiang. Photo courtesy of mubi.com

Watching a movie with your lover makes for a great date, but please keep your hands to yourselves and enjoy the movie. Although it’s dark and it may seem a suitable place for public displays of affection, your acts, even if not raunchy, can still be distracting. It’s okay to hold hands or let your lover rest his or her head on your shoulder or your chest. However, when you start doing some sweet talk with your “babe” or even go beyond that, it’s pretty distracting already. Or if you want to share a kiss, just please be discreet about it.

You should set your eyes on one screen only
In 2015, Hamilton actor and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted about a celebrity who was apparently texting throughout the show. While a theater show is entirely different from watching a movie, it’s never okay to stay on your phone during a show. It’s like reminding you not to text while driving.

Looking at your phone could lead to missing an important plot point or scene. So, you’re not just really distracting others but also yourself.

While there are people who can’t really turn off their phones, always put it on silent mode. In the darkness of a movie house, an object that emits light can disturb the viewing experience. So if you have to use your phone, lower the brightness and use it sparingly. You can also try to activate your phone’s grayscale mode.

Also, don’t even attempt to record the film.

Mindfulness is the way to go
Going to the movies is a community experience. When you watch a movie, you’re watching with hundreds of people who are interested in the movie. And no matter how good the movie is, a small perturbation may alter the experience of your fellow audience. So whether it’s about the noise or your theater munchies, just be mindful about anything you do.

Header image from 500 Days of Summer courtesy of Bustle

Read more:
Why do local films flop?
Why you should not watch that leaked Game of Thrones episode
Is the best seat to a concert always the most expensive?
Your favorite neighborhood in QC will soon have a cinema

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